Huff Post: Rabbi David Wolpe: Prospect magazine just named the 65 leading intellectuals in the world.
First on the list was Richard Dawkins, known for his work in biology and for his polemics against religion. Dawkins on biology is an elegant, lucid and even enchanting explicator of science. Dawkins on religion is historically uninformed, outrageously partisan and morally obtuse. If Dawkins is indeed our best, the life of the mind is in a precarious state.
Anyone who could write “Hitler’s ideas and intentions were not self-evidently more evil than those of Caligula” is egregiously ill-informed at best. Not only are Caligula’s intentions and actions a subject of historical speculation and even revision, but he did not plot to wipe out an entire people simply because they existed, or mobilize a vast military machinery to enmesh the entire world in war. I trust this is merely a misjudgment and not — given Dawkins statement that “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” and that “Jews” are “notoriously one of the most effective political lobbies in the United States” — indicative of any deeper prejudice. (Note to the many credentialed Prof. Dawkins, “Jews” are not a political lobby.